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Mastercard and Jennifer Hudson Launch Multi-Faceted Platform Supporting Black Women-Owned Businesses

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Company issues call to shop, share and support Black women-owned businesses, launches grant program with Fearless Fund and educational road show

Black women-owned businesses are vital to our economy and are amongst the hardest hit by the impacts of the pandemic. Today, Mastercard is announcing the Strivers Initiative, a consumer-facing platform, elevating the visibility of Black female business owners overcoming obstacles to maintain and grow their business, as role models for the community and future generations. The initiative will kick-off with a national ad spot featuring Black women business owners from across the U.S. and GRAMMY Award winning singer/songwriter Jennifer Hudson.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210217005502/en/

The initiative will include a grant program in partnership with Fearless Fund, a VC fund built by women of color for women of color. This will be complemented by a multi-city educational road show driving awareness of the state of women and minority-owned business in cities across the U.S. and providing insights into progressive actions cities can take to foster an equitable business climate.

This builds on the company's previously announced half-billion-dollar commitment to support Black communities over the next five years. This commitment includes products, services, technology and financial support, as well as concentrated investments that will focus on providing Black-owned businesses and Black people access to affordable financial tools and capital.

"For years, Black women have built businesses at a pace far greater than any other minority group, with a focus on building businesses that give back to their communities," said Cheryl Guerin, EVP Marketing and Communications in North America for Mastercard. "The pandemic has delivered financial headwinds that threaten the economic progress of Black female business owners and because of this, Mastercard is taking action, while also calling on consumers and corporates alike to shop, share and support these women."

The Strivers Initiative Grant Program and Educational Road Show

Mastercard is partnering with Fearless Fund to launch a grant program aimed at supporting Black women business owners in cities across the U.S. providing not only funding, but also leveraging Mastercard digital tools to help the businesses build and bolster their digital presence. The two will also embark on a multi-city educational road show in collaboration with women's online community and digital platform, Create & Cultivate.

"We are thrilled to partner with Mastercard in highlighting women and minority-owned businesses across the country," says Arian Simone, General Partner and Co-Founder of Fearless Fund. "The gap in the number of minority women opening new businesses every day and the number of minority women receiving funding is astounding, and we look forward to not only reducing this disparity but also utilizing Mastercard's digital tools to help these business owners build their online presence."

A Primetime Spotlight for Strivers Paving Their Path To Priceless

GRAMMY Award-winner and Mastercard ambassador Jennifer Hudson will help kick-off the Strivers Initiative in a new Mastercard spot where Hudson's rendition of ‘Ain't No Mountain High Enough', produced by will.i.am, serves as an anthem for Black women business owners across the country who are paving their Path to Priceless and whose businesses serve as pillars for their communities.

"I am fortunate to have been influenced and inspired by so many incredible Black female role models as I've pursued my dreams, but that's not always the case for all Black girls and women," Jennifer Hudson shared. "Entrepreneurship has always been a part of the American Dream and the work that Mastercard is doing to elevate these visible, strong Black Women business owners and highlight the support they're providing our communities is hugely important to me and to the impact of future generations."

The commercial, produced by women-owned Little Minx, with direction for the ad by Child, who leverages her work to communicate the depths of the Black experience, serves as the sound track to a visual journey that puts Black women business owners in the spotlight. The spot premieres on February 17th in Primetime TV and across digital channels.

Through mastercard.com/smallbiz visitors can learn more about these efforts, as well as shop Black Women-owned businesses, share their stories on social media and support their work.

Building on Mastercard's Commitment to Racial Equality & Small Business Advocacy

An estimated 41 percent of Black-owned businesses across the U.S. shut down between February and April of last year according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, outpacing all other owner groups. Today's commitment furthers the company's efforts to drive financial inclusion across the globe to bring more people and small businesses into the digital economy through equitable financial tools, investment and partnerships with cities across the U.S.

As small businesses accelerate digital transformation efforts in response to the pandemic, Mastercard is supporting them with tools and resources that are helping them build and enhance their digital efforts. This includes the Small Business Digital Readiness Diagnostic, a free online tool to help entrepreneurs understand their strengths and weaknesses across digital, and the company's Digital Doors curriculum, which helps to ensure businesses have the right tools to maximize their digital presence.

Today's announcement builds on Mastercard's $20 million commitment to the CNote Promise Account, advancing the company's nationwide support for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that has already helped direct $250 million in capital flow to Black-owned small businesses in the U.S with a goal to triple that amount by 2025.

About Mastercard

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

www.mastercard.com

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